Abdominal Pain on Left Side- Cause, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Abdominal pain is one such issue that could be alarming if left untreated. Until the cause is not known, you should always seek medical aid. Though it might simply be caused by muscle cramp, you never know when a simple pain turns to something serious and life-threatening. There are four sections of the abdomen. The upper, the lower, the left and the right side of the abdomen. Further, some medical professionals divide the area into nine regions. Here we confine our discussion to the left side of the abdominal pain, and by left we take into consideration both the upper left and the lower left part of the abdomen.

Predominantly, the pain in the abdomen is either on left or right or largely in the centre. Also, it is common to experience such pain, and on an average, every individual faces this once in their lifetime. It is of prime importance to note that the pain in the left side of the abdomen varies depending upon the reason of the same. Some abdominal pain occurrences are simple cramps whereas others could be plausible indication of chronic diseases.

It is not necessary that the pain in the abdomen is only because of disruption in the area but also a few other diseases that affect the abdomen can aggravate major pain. Some of the pain might be due to the inflammation in the digestive tract or infection in the strep throat.

Causes of Abdominal Pain on Left Side 

While seeking the major reason for the pain in left side of the abdomen, the doctor would look out for the exact location of the same. Whether it is the upper left abdomen or the lower left abdomen, is the prime concern of the doctor. If the pain is confined to the upper left of the abdomen, then this could specify the possibility of diseases related to kidney or the stomach. Few of the most common causes include gas reflux, indigestion, ulcers, gastritis, kidney stones etc. However, if the pain is in the lower left of the abdomen, common causes consists of colon disruption, testicular issues or the gynecologic reasons.

Additionally, the doctor might opt for symptoms of fever, vomiting, blood in stool, changes in urination, nausea, weight loss etc.

Some of the common causes of left side abdomen pain you should never ignore are:

1. Diverticulitis:

An inflammation in the inner lining of the colon is referred to as diverticulitis. This is deemed as one of the common reason behind the occurrence of pain in the left side of the abdomen. This is accompanied by fever, changes in bowel movements, blood in stools, and a few other symptoms. This requires immediate medical help as, if the condition worsens, it leads to bleeding or blockages.

2. Colitis:

Another common reason for pain in the left side of the abdomen is colon inflammation. Additionally, colitis is accompanied by changes in bowel movements. Some of the causes of colon inflammation are poor blood supply, for poisoning and immune reactions.

3. Gastritis:

Inflammation in the inner lining of the stomach and is mainly due to the infection, using pain relievers, excessive consumption of alcohol etc. It is believed that the common cause of pain in the left side of the abdomen is gastritis or ulcers. It occurs suddenly and the pain increases as dawn approaches. The condition is followed by vomiting, nausea, bloody stools and fever.

4. Shingles:

The aftermath of chicken pox will keep your abdomen little painful few years later. If the abdominal pain is accompanied by rashes on the skin, numbness, or a burning sensation, it is only because of shingles, and you need to seek medical advice as early as possible.

5. Indigestion:

The feeling of fullness, bloating or overeating causes discomfort. It can be the result of the anxiety, diet, pregnancy, or several medications. It is advisable to prefer intake of over the counter medicine to ease the discomfort caused by indigestion.

Risk Factors for Abdominal pain on left side

Though the onset of abdominal pain is not alarming or threatening, but if accompanied with other symptoms or additional inflammation, this leads to several risks aggravating the condition further. Few of the common risk factors include:

  • Ageing
  • People who are overweight are more likely to have abdominal pain due to diverticulitis.
  • Smoking or excessive alcohol consumption worsens the possibility of colon inflammation leading to abdominal pain.
  • Several medicines are taken to relieve pain causes intense abdominal pain.

Few complications associated with the pain in the left side of the abdomen consists of:

  • An abscess
  • Blockage in colon
  • Presence of fistula

Symptoms Abdominal pain on left side

In case you witness pain in the left side of the abdomen, you need to look for various indications to be sure of the reason for the pain. Only after knowing the cause of the pain, can a treatment be performed. Few of the symptoms suggesting the presence of Abdominal pain on the left side are:

  • Though heart is not a part of the abdomen, yet heartburn causes pain in the left side of the abdomen.
  • Inflammation in the lining of the stomach.
  • Ulcers
  • Obstruction in bowel movements
  • Kidney stones
  • Colitis
  • Digestive Problems
  • Gastroenteritis

Few other symptoms that affirm the presence of abdominal pain in the left side are the Crohn’s disease, Anemia, etc.

Diagnosis Abdominal pain on left side

After knowing the actual cause of the pain in the left side of the abdomen, can a doctor treat the same. To rule out the various causes of, doctors first opt for a physical examination by seeing the area and pressing your abdomen to see where does the pain actually lies and also asses the touch sensitivity. After this, the doctor would seek your medical history to see if you have earlier had any disease that could induce pain in the abdomen. If this does not convince him for the reason of the pain, he/she would further suggest you go for tests and medical examination to know the exact cause behind the pain in the left side of the abdomen.

Some of the most common tests include a CT scan, an ultrasound of the whole abdomen and several blood tests as the Complete Blood profile. If you have problems in your bowel movements or a bloody stool, then the doctor might also seek colonoscopy to rule out the doubt of colon cancer. Additionally, the doctor would track your bowel movements to make sure the condition does not worsen.

Only after the doctor attains proven facts for the cause of the disease, he would further suggest the necessary treatment.

Treatment Abdominal pain on left side

After the doctor rules out the various causes and is now sure about one or two major causes of the pain in the left side of the abdomen, he would suggest several medicines as well as dietary and lifestyle changes to ease the pain and also prevent the recurrence of the same. The pain in the left side of the abdomen could be only due to gas and can be cured by application of ice pack, or it could be due to any serious disease such as colon inflammation which necessitates the need of urgent medical advice for a better cure. Some of the common pieces of advice given by doctors includes:

  • Consumption or intake of a fresh and healthy diet.
  • Working out each day for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  • Avoid the regular intake of alcohol, and it is advised to quit smoking.
  • Indulge in hygienic practices as washing hands, avoiding the intake of contaminated foods.
  • Sip fluids mainly clear fluids until the pain dissolve.
  • Avoiding the intake of pain relievers like aspirin and ibuprofen.
  • If you experience frequent pain, try taking antacids.

Medication Abdominal pain on left side

After the doctor has affirmed himself with the cause of the pain in the left part of the abdomen, he would then prescribe medicine depending upon the cause. However, the common medicine given for short-term relief and dissolving the pain temporarily include nitrate, morphine, H2 blockers and few antispasmodic. Though some of the cases require surgery, temporary relief is given to soothen the pain.

Sagar Papneja

For me, health is about sustainable living and consuming environmentally conscious food; I am a vegan.

Related Featured Articles

Next Post

Abdominal Pain- Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Previous Post

Can Agarbatti or Incense Smoke cause Cancer? Research Says Yes